In Tranquebar, I stayed at the excellent Bungalow on the Beach, run by The Neemrana Group. It was the closest one could get to a Grand Hotel in the town, and I wasn’t disappointed.
The origins of the building aren’t very clear – it was probably built in the early 1800s during the Danish era. From 1845, when the British took over, the building then became the former British Tax Collector’s Summer Residence. Architecturally, it was designed in an eclectic style, with a basic, European, Neo-classical form and large verandahs going all around the building on the first and second floors to take account of the weather.
Originally in an advanced state of dilapidation, it was acquired by Neemrana Group in the early 2000s, and after extensive restoration, opened as a hotel in 2004. Unfortunately, the 2004 tsunami struck soon after, and it required more restoration before being re-opened again.
The interiors of the building are designed to evoke the Danish era, with aqua-blue highlights on the walls, and rooms named after Danish Monarchs and princes. The highlight of my stay was the swimming pool, set in a spectacular location right by the waters of the Bay of Bengal.
Another highlight was the delicious food served in the hotel’s restaurant – which, being Tamil cuisine, was something I was extremely familiar with. One evening I ordered the “Special Tharangambadi Fish Curry”, only to find out – after having a taste – that it was essentially the same as Muthu’s Fish Curry back home in Singapore.
Talk about home away from home.
Next stop on the Grand Tour III: Colombo, Sri Lanka